Fast-closing Hungry Island ran her winning streak to four races when she blew past her rivals in the final furlong to take the $150,000 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) going away by 2 1/2 lengths at Saratoga Aug. 21.
Winter Memories, the 2-5 favorite in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies, experienced trouble on Saratoga's yielding Mellon Turf Course and wound up fourth. That resulted in some huge show bet payoffs.
Emory Hamilton's homebred Hungry Island was ridden to victory in her graded stakes debut by Alex Solis at odds of 9-1. Shug McGaughey trains the winning daughter of More Than Ready . She came into the race off a three-length victory in the Recording Stakes on Belmont Park's inner turf course July 2.
Hungry Island, who trailed the field for the first half-mile, completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:53.77.
Bellamy Star had an easy lead for six furlongs, taking Wyomia and Kathmanblu along by a couple of lengths through quarter-mile splits of :26.07, :51.91, and 1:17.18 on the boggy going. Kathmanblu, a couple of paths wide on both turns, responded to urging from Javier Castellano to challenge on the outside of Bellamy Star. She reached the lead approaching the furlong pole.
Hungry Island, angling out for the stretch run under left-handed encouragement from Solis, closed quickly, however. She was still fifth as Kathmanblu hit the front, but the new leader was no match for Hungry Island in the final sixteenth of a mile. Hungry Island powered clear on the outside and was widening her advantage late under continued left-handed urging from Solis.
“My plan was to follow (Winter Memories) the whole way," Solis said. "I had a good trip and tracked her, and got to the half-mile pole; then I waited a little longer and a little longer. I got out at the quarter-pole and she did her thing."
Kathmanblu held off Dynamic Holiday and Ramon Dominguez by a half-length.
Winter Memories, so impressive in winning the Lake George (gr. IIT) at Saratoga July 27 for her third consecutive graded stakes triumph, finished a neck farther back in fourth. Hemmed in leaving the final turn by Hungry Island and in the lane by Dynamic Holiday, Jose Lezcano altered course on the 122-pound high weight to the inside at mid-stretch. But Winter Memories brushed the rail approaching the sixteenth pole and had no response after that as Hungry Island swept past.
"She was in tight all of the way," trainer Jimmy Toner said afterward in discussing Winter Memories' trip. "She was trapped in the whole time. She doesn’t like to be between horses. They left it on (the turf) and I was good with that. She won the Miss Grillo on soft ground. There are no excuses. When you win, you win; when you lose, you lose. It’s Saratoga -- the graveyard of favorites.”
Trac N Jam, Wyomia, and Bellamy Star completed the order.
Hungry Island, who is out of the A.P. Indy mare Flying Passage, earned $90,000 while improving her career mark to 4-2-2 in eight starts. The bay filly has banked $216,980.
“I didn’t know if (Winter Memories) would handle that ground, but I knew we would because we’ve run on it before," McGaughey noted. "What I liked was, I think (Solis) was kind of messing with (Winter Memories) a little bit trying to keep her down on the inside of him and she was still able to finish that way going that far.
"I think this is a good filly," McGaughey added. "She’s done everything we wanted her to do this year.”
McGaughey said the next target for Hungry Island would likely be the Garden City (gr. IT) at Belmont Park Sept. 17.
Sent off as the fourth choice, Hungry Island carried 118 pounds and paid $21.40, $8.50, and $12.20. Second choice Kathmanblu returned $7 and $12, and completed a $136.50 exacta. The show price on Dynamic Holiday was $11.
Believe In A. P., Indian Tale, and Tiz the Argument were entered for the main track only.